Early in the life of the coleus, it is pinched back to make a better-shaped plant. Then, in the fall, as the sun's rays grow cooler, the rich colours in the coleus leaves appear. They look like Joseph's coat of many colours, as the reds, yellows, and purples change into deeper hues. At this stage, it gets a signal to bloom. If allowed to produce a flower, nature signals that its life-cycle is over. It makes preparations to die. If the bloom is pinched, it continues struggling to produce a flower.
I pinch every bloom formation I can find, hoping the beautiful leaves will continue on the plant, feeling guilty as I do so. I know its purpose in life is to produce a flower, but it has much more beauty to offer. I want to prolong her days before the final act signalling the end of her productivity.
Farmers prune vineyards for a better crop, knowing that if all the energy goes to the vine or stalk, the fruit will be small.
Leviticus 25:3 – For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. (NIV)
John 15:2 – He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. (NIV)
Just as I pinch back the coleus, God sometimes has to pinch us to make us stronger and more productive. We get so involved in growth we become weak and spindly. Like the coleus, we are eager to reach the pinnacle of the mountain, failing to use our gifts to the fullest on the climb.
Prayer: Lord, pinch back our growth in the areas that need pruning. May we linger along, using our gifts to the fullest where they are needed. Lead us toward the pinnacle of perfection, but don't let the end come too soon. Amen.